In design of bigger reference books, a common element is adding coloured blocks at the edge of every page of a chapter. These blocks are made to bleed off the edge of the page, resulting in a faux edge-painted look that makes it easier to find the right chapter.

example of edge index

source: Wikimedia commons

I'm talking about the effect on the side edges of the book, not the one on the top edge, that's edge painting.

What is the name of this design technique?

  • Of course, I find the answer to my own question while looking for example images. Hope someone finds it useful.
    – Vincent
    Commented Nov 16, 2018 at 14:21
  • happened to me before xD
    – Welz
    Commented Nov 16, 2018 at 14:47
  • @WELZ I see it as a good opportunity to finally try and obtain the 'self-learner' bagde :P
    – Vincent
    Commented Nov 16, 2018 at 15:07

1 Answer 1


According to Wikipedia, this is called an edge index; not to be confused with a thumb index, where the edges of the paper are actually removed.

  • 2
    The only thing to keep in mind and what is not mentioned in Wikipedia — adding edge index to your design will easily expose any binding errors. I.e. If folding of printed sheet will be inaccurate, the index pages will start to jump and will not form accurate one to the other. Your sample image also contains this error.
    – mrserge
    Commented Nov 18, 2018 at 7:20

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